LAKE LINDEN — The Houghton Gremlins’ volleyball team came out swinging Thursday night against a calm and seemingly flat Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes’ squad. The Gremlin girls stirred up the waters and sunk the Lakes, 25-20, 25-17, and 25-17.
“We did a nice job of finding holes and attacking when we had the opportunities,” said Gremlins coach Blaire Zenner. “The girls did a good job of having control of the ball and making plays when it was not set up well.”
She added that the team served strong despite several service errors. They had 15 aces on the night, and that was led by senior Brynn Arko with seven.
The Lakes’ one-and-only lead of the match came early in the first set at 6-3. The Gremlins tied it, however, at eight and pushed out to a 14-11 lead. While Becca Lyons was able to move the Lakes to within two at 18-20, the Gremlins worked their way to a set win.
The second set was similar in its start. The two teams tied at four, and while the Gremlins kept a lead, it was just of the one-or-two-point variety. With Alli Corrigan on the line, the Lakes were able to tie the game at 13. However, Arko changed that quickly with an ace here and there in a run of eight to make it a 21 -13 game.
“We were not on our game tonight,” said Lakes coach Joslynn Perala. “It was like we were in survival mode after that first set. We were just trying to keep up with them and not putting any thought into our attack. We knew we need to adjust to their attack, but we were not adjusting.”
Part of the Gremlins’ attack was utilizing their two middle hitters Danica Ryynanen and Sophia Neves. Ryynanen led the team with eight kills, and Neves spiked six.
In the third set, the Gremlins kept the Lakes moving as they pulled out to a 10-3 lead which became a 20-10 lead with Arko on the line and a set and match victory minutes later.
“Houghton can swing the ball hard, but we did not do a good job of putting any offense together of our own,” said Perala. “We were just lobbing it over for them to set up.”
The Gremlins will travel to Escanaba Saturday for a tournament.
The Lakes will welcome Watersmeet to Lake Linden on Tuesday. Opening serve is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.